mon 18/06/2018

Shakespeare

Julius Caesar, BBC Four review - electrifying TV launch of all-women Shakespeare trilogy

Who would have thought, when Phyllida Lloyd's Donmar Julius Caesar opened to justified fanfare, that two more Shakespeare masterpieces would be sustained no less powerfully within the women's-prison context over the following years? Faced with the "...

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Falstaff, Garsington Opera review - Sir John under pressure

All those pranks, set-ups, fake letters and disguises, they just keep coming thick and fast in Verdi’s Falstaff. The score has irresistible energy and momentum. The composer made sure in his last opera that when the fantasies, schemes and hopes of...

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The Two Noble Kinsmen, Shakespeare's Globe review - a breezy bromance served up slight

Those who find the Bard tough going – wasn't that one of Emma Rice's admissions back in the day? – should beat a path to The Two Noble Kinsmen, a late-career collaboration with John Fletcher that emerges as Shakespeare lite. Remembered (dimly) as...

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King Lear, BBC Two review - modernised TV adaptation is a mixed blessing

Some have contended that King Lear is unstageable, and perhaps it’s unfilmable too. Richard Eyre‘s new version for the BBC sets Shakespeare’s most remorselessly bleak tragedy in a pseudo-modern Britain where historic stately homes co-exist with...

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As You Like It / Hamlet, Shakespeare’s Globe review - ensemble emphasis sets a leaner style

There’s a distinct feeling of back to basics to this opening double bill at the Globe under the theatre’s new Artistic Director Michelle Terry. The elaborations (some would say gimmickry) of Emma Rice’s short tenure have been reined back, and a new...

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Hamlet, RSC, Hackney Empire review - Paapa Essiedu's winning Dane

Shakespeare's death-laden play is alive and well and breathing with renewed force in Hackney, the last British stop for an RSC touring Hamlet that moves on from London to the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC in May. Let's hope the American capital...

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Antony Sher: Year of the Mad King - extract

In 1982 Antony Sher played the Fool to Michael Gambon’s King in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of King Lear. Shortly after, he came back to Stratford to play Richard III, for which he won the Olivierand Evening Standard Awards for Best...

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Macbeth, National Theatre - Rufus Norris goes for drab, gory and tricksy

Fair is foul and foul is drab, gory and tricksy in Rufus Norris’s first stab at Shakespeare direction at the National Theatre, Macbeth. It embodies the play's most clichéd quotation (the one about sound, fury, and nada), though whether that's...

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A Midsummer Night's Dream, ENO review - shiveringly beautiful Britten

“What angel wakes me from my flowery bed?” Hang on a minute, Tytania, there are no flowers. Instead, as Britten’s ominously low strings slither and tremble up and down the scale, the curtain rises on a huge, near-acidic emerald green hilly slope...

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All's Well That Ends Well, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse review - feisty, prickly and topical, as well

It's the people who are problematic, not the play. That's one take-away sentiment afforded by Caroline Byrne's sparky and provocative take on All's Well That Ends Well, that ever-peculiar Shakespeare "comedy" (really?) whose title is in ironic...

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Judi Dench: My Passion for Trees, BBC One review - an arboreal delight

“I am going to find out how much my trees live, breath, and even communicate. I am Judi Dench, and I have been an actor for 60 years – but I have had another passion ever since I was a little girl: I have adored trees. My six acres are a secret...

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Titus Andronicus, RSC, Barbican review - blood will out

Live theatre, eh? It had to happen. On press night a sound of what seemed to be snoring (the production’s really not dull) revealed, in the Barbican stalls, a collapse. About an hour in, a huge amount of blood is smeared over Titus Andronicus’s...

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